Monday, May 31, 2010

saint mungo. mary. and midge

The skies might be clear, dusted lightly just with veins of ash, but my humour is grey to middling.

Determined to make something of it, I climb down out of the box and venture out to rub shoulders with tourists and Spring Bank Holidaymakers. It intrigues me why so many tourists hasten to this city. Even on a good day. Infiltrating bus and train station, an occupying force. I have had my fill of it. Its people like anemic corpuscles infecting the pavement. Bumping into visitors bristling with rude health.

It might be a Bank Holiday, but the hammers and machinery started in on both sides at 7 AM regardless. The scraping of demolition continues unabated.

I walk out onto Glasgow Green. A place of public hangings once and gang fights still. And it strikes me then.

It is mid morning and the grassy quadrants are startlingly quiet and bare. The topiary shrubs have been freshly hewn; some asian youths are already busy with a game of cricket. Under the great Needle shared with London; Paris; New York.

The glass on the westerly face of the People's Palace is the same bleached out blue as the sky. Squat on the lawn. Faintly perspiring.

Well. It is achingly pretty. As handsome as those vast public spaces between the Eiffel Tower and the Luxembourg Gardens. Over towards the Bois de Bologne. I visited there once, a long while ago.

I am disorientated, but not so much that I can't see that this is precisely what a tourist must see.

I am abashed. I sit down on the grass and light one cigarette after another, the morning sun licking at my arms and neck. All prejudices exposed, I exhale and let them go.

Later - in those hours between tea and dusk - I go back there with the kids, a ball, a bike.

We kick the ball and use two trees as goalposts. I steal the bike for half an hour and peddle about like a lunatic.

A few toy dogs chase each other off the leash and at the edge of the adventure playground a young mother is sick into a hedge. Try as I might, it looks like shit.


Mike"A" in Taipei said...

Yeah, here in Taipei the closest venue for similar is Sun Yet-sen Memorial hall - a tribute to the father of modern China re-purposed as a meeting ground for the young, practicing their dance routines on the surrounding, sheltered (rainy season is starting) porch, while inside a changing of the guard as formal as any you will see occurs twice daily...yeah, Mandarin is the lingua franca but there are variations. I get by by pointing and grunting...same as it ever was, same as it ever was

glad to hear you had some light in your day...the darkness will always be there..

ib said...

"...pointing and grunting... same as it ever was"

I like that. Yes, the intracies of verbal communication often elude me too. I am either abrupt or my words trail off half way through every second sentence.

Tai Chi in Taipei... And the modern dance with faintly militaristic undertones. I was back on the green this evening. It was a good deal more overcast today; raining here too after the sunburst.

The brain dead made their presence felt. Lurching zombies with razor welts on their cheeks. This time around, we nearly lost the ball for good. It was a close call.

I am to long in the tooth to be trading punches.

Löst Jimmy said...

Your description of the 'Green' is eloquent ib. I too have seen its two sides flimsily held apart by time. I have walked its warm expanse during day, even stood listening to orations during anti-war demo, once I proudly donated a wee exhibit to the Palace, scoffed lorne sausage rolls amidst the cheery bustle and also witnessed the later electric soup fuelled transformation, the sense of menace as the dusk into night once more emerges from the Green's edges to claim as their own.

ib said...

There is a definite cut off point on the Green where it tilts from lazy afternoon into something more dangerous.

Public parks are the same the world over, but the Green is especially precarious since there are no gates and it is easy to drift into twilight.

I was stabbed in the back there many years ago. I kept on my feet while the bottles and 2 x 4 rained in on either side, and I didn't notice the blade until an unseen hand retrieved it. It was about 7 or so in the evening and in hindsight I was foolish to wander in over the suspension bridge like a lone scouting party.